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Understanding Race After Charlottesville

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Understanding Race

In the weeks leading up to Monday, September 18, 2017, we encouraged individuals to share resources as part of the Understanding Race After Charlottesville initiative, a collaborative effort between the American Anthropological Association, the American Historical Association, the American Sociological Association, and the Society for Applied Anthropology. The resources collected through that effort are accessible on the page below and it is our hope that they will continue to provide anthropologists and others with the tools they need to have open and fact-based conversations about race in their communities. 

We know that at a minimum, accurate information and knowledge are essential if we are to realize a just world. Misinformation, disinformation, and distortion are enemies of social justice. Understanding Race After Charlottesville is our opportunity to turn around the state of utter confusion being promulgated by the least responsible of leadership and disseminated by the least accountable of sources.

  • Submit topical and relevant syllabi, activities, and lesson plans to the AAA teaching materials exchange by checking the box for "Race" on the submission upload form. These materials will then be available via the search function in the teaching materials exchange.

  • A lesson plan (PDF) with key points and resources for incorporating a discussion about race into your classroom is now available for participants to use to teach classes on and the week of September 18. Use the curated lesson plan to participate in a teach-in at your college/university in the tradition of anthropologist Marshall Sahlins who conceived of the teach-in for the purposes of providing knowledge and information on behalf of the anti-Vietnam war effort 50 years ago.

  • Access a list of books and other additional readings from the Anthropology News website here. 

  • Organize an event in your community using the resources from the RACE website in an open house or at a community center, library, museum or local K-12 school.

  • The Seeing I to I app includes a narrated survey to anonymously register how different members of your school community (students, parents, teachers, non-teaching staff) see treatment of different groups of students in terms of respect and/or bias. 
  • Human variation exists on a spectrum that can’t be easily divided into races; we are more alike than we are different. "Race" is not a scientific, biological fact, but as expert Yolanda Moses says, "this doesn't mean race isn't real. Politically and culturally, race is a very real fact." Read the full American Anthropological Association statement on race.

  • Race, Racism, and Protesting Anthropology is an open-access collection of articles that examine work by scholars applying anthropology to contemporary protests. This issue of Open Anthropology includes articles that address Ferguson, the contributions made by anthropologists of color, and the nature of white supremacy in the US. 

  • Anthropology News has recently published a number of articles that address the intricate issues at play when discussing issues of race and racism in the United States. 




  • The Understanding Race After Charlottesville series is now live on the AAA blog. Use this space to reflect and share resources.

  • #UnderstandingRace will be used by the AHA, ASA, SfAA, and AAA when sharing resources and we encourage you to use it to help spread the word about Understanding Race After Charlottesville.

  • "Was that racist?" View the footage from this AAA 2016 Executive Session and add your own thoughts in the comments. 

  • AAA member Donna Auston's interview with University of Queensland's World 101X about her research on Black Lives Matter is available here. She provides a detailed discussion of race, Islamophobia, and state violence in the US, as well as of anthropological methods and public anthropology in times of social crisis.

  • "Speaking of Race" is a podcast out of the University of Alabama produced by a group of concerned professors coming from a constructivist position who want to share our ideas about race, science, and society.
Additional Resources

Additional resources you may find helpful include “Teaching Resources for Difficult Times” from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Charlottesville Syllabus, a resource created by the University of Virginia Graduate Students' Coalition to be used to educate readers about the long history of white supremacy in Charlottesville.

Resources offered by our partners:

The American Historical Association

AHA Statement on Confederate Monuments 

Historians on the Confederate Monument Debate

The Future of the African American Past Video Resources

The Decision to Secede and Establish the Confederacy: A Selection of Primary Sources

Teaching with #DigHist series

The American Sociological Association

Understanding Race After Charlottesville - Sociological Views on White Supremacy

and the Society for Applied Anthropology.